Graduation Graduate

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what 4 yr college can i graduate from and make close to or around six figures upon graduation?

right now i am working in the construction field and within 2 yrs i will be making $38/hr with an added $35/hr benefits package. I really dont see any college that pays that well upon graduation, but time and again i hear from folks that college is the best route. The way i see it if i cant get a starting job of at least $70,000 after doing 4yrs in school and accumulating a hefty debt while at it and at the same time not making any money whats the point of college? id say im better off with this job where i can learn and earn a real good wage while at it, as opposed to college where im learning but falling heavily into debt with tuition and other expenses. I just turned 19 so i dont yet know the world inside and out, but tell me im wrong ?

Ivy League schools, Stanford, MIT, and Cal-Berkley.

Celebrate the Graduate: Graduation Party Planning 101

As a parent, you're bursting with pride, and rightly so. Whether it's high school or college, graduating is a noteworthy accomplishment that deserves a celebration, and there are so many ways for you to accomplish that! But first, you have to ask yourself a couple of questions: Do you want to focus on your graduate only, or do you want to celebrate all the diploma winners in your graduate's circle of friends? Also, would you prefer a party with definite time parameters or simply an "open house," when people drop in and out over a period of several hours? Once you've determined these parameters, it's time to plan!

Pick a date. Give yourself plenty of time to plan. If the graduation is in late May or early June, start planning in January or February if you're planning an elaborate event. A Friday evening or weekend day or evening would probably be best. With proms, finals and other activities keeping kids busy just before graduation day, you might consider having the party soon after the graduation ceremony. If the ceremony is during the day, you can have it that evening, or the next day. If it's an out-of-town graduation, you'll certainly want to wait until you get home and have time to get everything together.

Set a budget. Your budget will help you determine the scope of your party. Once you've set your budget, divide the money between food and decorations. Depending on how elaborate your plans are, you might have to include fees for your venue or facility or the cost of a band.

Choose a venue. You've got lots of possibilities here-your home, a restaurant, a park, a swimming pool, beach or lake, an amusement park or a special place you have in mind! Sometimes the venue drives the menu! If you head for a beach, a yummy clambake might be in order. If you have it at home in your backyard, how about a luscious barbecue with all the trimmings? For a party at a restaurant, your guests can either order whatever they'd like from the menu, or you can pre-select hors d'oeurves and platters when you make your reservation. Keep in mind that parties at beaches and parks often need permits and reservations, too, so be sure to check ahead of time.

Select a theme. A theme can be optional, especially if you're having that clambake on the beach or a day at an amusement park. The great thing about themes is that they give you a way to tie all the elements (invitations, decorations, etc.) together in a meaningful way. The theme can be as simple as a farewell to their high school, using the school colors, pennants and other memorabilia in your planning. The same goes for college-honoring your child's alma mater. Other themes for high school are "Off to College," where you can decorate with the school colors, banners, mascot, etc. of the college or university your child will attend, or how about a "Last Dance" Party? Other college-graduation themes include the career-focused "Get Ready, World! Here I Come!" or a nostalgia theme with photos and memorabilia from your child's school days, or a retro toga party.

Plan the menu. Whether it's a clambake or a barbecue, professionally catered or self-catered, you still need to develop your menu. What kind of appetizers, salad, entrée, drinks and dessert will you serve? If your guest list is mostly kids, gear your menu toward them. Dessert may be a graduation cake or an ice cream sundae bar. Let your theme guide you.

Create the guest list. The party can be as intimate or as full of guests as you'd like. You can invite family, your friends, your child's friends, and don't forget about teachers, professors, coaches and others who helped your child reach this moment.

Send Save-the-Date Cards and Invitations. Since most graduations occur in late spring or early summer, when people leave for vacations or plan graduation parties of their own, you should consider mailing Save-the-Date cards three or four months in advance. Coordinate the Save-the-Date cards and the invitations with the theme somehow, so guests can get excited about what they'll find when they arrive. Mail your invitations at least one month before and ask guests to R.S.V.P. via phone or email. About a week before the event, call those people who haven't responded to find out if they're planning to attend, so you can have an accurate head count.

Decorations and Favors. Always the most fun of party planning, decorations and favors carry your theme! Set out a 16" x 20" or larger, foam core-backed, matte-finished photo of the graduate on an easel with some colorful markers, so guests can write their best wishes in the background. Your main-table centerpiece can be a spray of flowers in school colors with "diplomas" (rolled-up white paper tied with ribbons in the school colors!) among the flowers. You can make smaller versions of the same thing for the individual tables. Again, it all depends on your theme. Let your creative juices flow! Favors for guests might include "The Next Chapter" Graduation Bookmark-a silver-finish, openwork mortarboard with a black tassel, or personalized "Congratulations, Graduate!" Chocolate Candy Bars.

Activities. Dancing. Swimming. Beach volleyball. A humorous "roast" of the graduate by family and friends. Whatever your guests might enjoy. And, of course, a "Keep in Touch" activity. After high school and college, friends scatter across the country and beyond. To help them maintain the bonds they've forged over the years, fix a large U.S. map to a cork bulletin board. Have pieces of paper, writing utensils and push pins close by so all the friends can write their names, new addresses and contact information on a piece of paper and pin it to the nearest city or town on the map. It's a great way to keep treasured friends connected.

Music. Ask your graduate to help you by providing you with favorite CDs. If it's a retro party, you'll probably want to raid your own music collection.

Just follow these suggestions, and you'll surely be recognized for your graduation-party planning-with highest honors!

About the Author

Susan Hawkins is a writer for Favor Affair, an online store selling
favors for a graduation party
and other party favors for all of life's events.

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